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Qualicum Beach Road report reviews mixed

Opinions vary about what to do with roads in municipality

Town staff said a new report on Qualicum Beach’s traffic network didn’t contain any surprises and at least one councillor was disappointed with the outcome.

Coun. Mary Briouilette said Monday night she found the traffic engineering report by R.F. Binnie and Associates Ltd. was “disappointing.”

“I feel the information is no different than the information the town already had,” she said. “I’m very disappointed in this report.”

The report itself notes that the consulting firm used town documents, engineering reports, past reports, maps and more, combined with a visit to the town in February, 2012, to see the traffic and road network. The town itself added 25 “key traffic engineering study items to be included” in the review.

In the report before councillors, Binnie had made several recommendations (52, of various levels of importance) and issued a list of 23 short, medium and long-term works projects. Of those, only four short-term works recommendations were given to council Monday as priority items.

Those were: reinstating the 50 km/h speed limit on Memorial Avenue; increasing enforcement on Crescent Road West and 1st Avenue; reinstating the westbound left-turn movement at the intersection of Highway 19A and Crescent Road East, and; closing Railway Street at Memorial Ave.

The Railway Street closure item was quashed quickly by coun. Bill Luchtmeijer and mayor Teunis Westbroek, who raised a motion to strike it from the list of four items.

“There’s a redevelopment of Memorial Avenue planned in that area,” Luchtmeijer noted, adding the town shouldn’t waste any time on that.

Westbroek agreed and his motion to drop that recommendation passed.

That means the report will be forwarded on to the town’s select committee on public safety without that fourth item. The committee will be tasked for its input on the report before the town takes further action.

Town engineer Bob Weir said the report itself won’t change at all and the consultant won’t be making any changes to it — nor were there any neighbourhood-specific items on its recommendation lists.

“There were no big surprises as to where we were going,” he said, noting this effort was about having an independent third party review the town’s work to date.

Weir added having the public safety committee review the report is appropriate and noted in his report to council that the recommendations could not proceed without further study and planning.

The cost of the Binnie report was partially offset by a $20,000 Age-Friendly Transportation planning grant, which defines an additional scope of work beyond this review.